It’s been a while since my last blog post! I’ve moved county and been on holiday so it’s been a busy start to 2015 for me! As you may know I was holidaying in my favourite city…New York! My brother and his family live there so I’ve had quite a few trips over the years and love it so much. While I was there I got to experience possibly the best event I have ever attended, it was like a mini wedding! My eldest niece Kirsten celebrated her Sweet 16!
Sweet 16 parties are such a big thing in certain parts of the US, in a way it’s like introducing the young lady into society as she approaches adulthood and life as an independent woman. Birthdays like 18 and 21 are not as big, 16 is the big one. If you are going to have a Sweet 16 in the US, go big or go home!
The party was about 6 months in the planning, there was a theme, invitations, RSVPs, centrepieces, favours, not to mention the dress! Kirsten’s theme was Enchanted Forest and the first insight we got into this was the invitation! I was so excited to receive her invite and as I love all kinds of events I couldn’t wait to see what the night entailed and I wasn’t disappointed!
The day before the party was all go, collecting the favours, dropping everything to the venue and of course the night was spent with 6 of us painting our nails aged 12 – 91! I brought my trusty travel size of Cocoa Brown Tan with me to New York and tanned both Kirsten and I for the big night. Cocoa Brown is just about to launch in the US, available at Rickys, so Kirsten got the exclusive!
On party day, the hairdresser Laura and make-up artist Brittnie, both family friends, arrived to beautify Kirsten, her sister Neve and their mom Lissette. 6pm and we were all ready to go to the venue Grand Oaks Country Club, Staten Island.
The venue was amazing! So glamorous and intimate.
The centrepieces complete with fairy lights were made by my sister-in-law Lissette after lots of trips to Hobby Lobby (my new favourite craft store) and were perfect on each table in keeping with the theme.
On the tables everyone received a candy apple from Philips Candy and a Ring Ding (a chocolate covered chocolate cake with marshmallow inside = yum!) from Duane Park Patissierie. Check out the personalised detail on the ribbon of the candy apple!
Once we got our family photos out of the way, Kirsten went into her private suite so that guests wouldn’t see her when they arrived. There were 5 friends that she allowed to enter to see her and the first to arrive was her best friend Alyssa who started crying upon seeing Kirsten! So sweet!
Kirsten’s dress was stunning on her, fit for a princess. It was by Sherri Hill and fitted her like a glove! Doesn’t she look amazing? Gold heels and pearls completed her look.
On arrival guests had to find their name amongst the birds! Yes there was a seating plan! And Kirsten did the seating plan herself! The place card holder would come in handy for later…wait and see!
Then the moment arrived, Kirsten’s grand entrance! It really was something of a fairytale. Everyone stood up, the music started (her entrance song was Titanium by David Guetta and Sia), the double doors swung open and ta dah…enter Kirsten! As tears filled our eyes, her friends screamed at the top of their lungs and flashes went off all around the room. Kirsten did a lap of the floor and then her Dad, my brother Paudie, joined her for the Father-Daughter dance. Halfway through their dance to Angels by Robbie Williams, Paudie swapped with Kirsten’s mom Lissette so that she could have a dance with her daughter too.
Once the dance was over, Paudie made his speech about Kirsten which had us all in tears including the birthday girl herself! We also had a laugh though as Paudie recalled the first thing he said when he saw Kirsten after she was born, “Is her head supposed to be that size?” We raised our glasses and made a toast to the birthday girl with apple cider!
Then it was time for food! The buffet included steak, pork, chicken parmigana, pasta, potatoes, tofu, salad and everything was delicious! The service at the Grand Oaks was exceptional. And did I mention it was open bar? The bar was split in two with a bartender for the adults and non alcoholic cocktails like margaritas, pina coladas, etc made up for the teenagers.
The entertainment on the night was provided by Sound Explosion DJs. The four guys were great and provided the DJ, MC, Photographer and a Photobooth with props, now you see the place card holder comes in handy for your photo! They also compiled a slideshow of photos of Kirsten growing up which we watched after dinner. Any photos that the photographer took where displayed on the big screen throughout the night. They really provided a very professional service and kept the dancefloor full throughout the night!
As part of the Sweet 16 process there is a candle ceremony and the candle holder with Kirsten’s name was made especially for the occasion. It was made my Uniquely Yours who also made Kirsten’s bank for her birthday cards and her guest board that everyone signed. How cute is her pic on the board at just six months old?!
For the candle ceremony, Kirsten invited special people in her life to come up and light a candle with her. There were 17 candles. 16 were dedicated to her parents, siblings, relations, friends, neighbours and the 17th candle she lit alone for everyone there. She made a little speech about each candle recipient and then invited them up to which a different song was played for each person/group. Yet again we were in tears as she said such kind words about everyone! Remember she’s 16, wrote these herself and read them out to 90 people with a microphone as cool as a cucumber! I couldn’t have done it at 16!
I was so honoured to be included in the candle ceremony as my sister Maria and I were called. We composed ourselves and our song was ‘We are Family’! The highlight though had to be my Nana’s candle, Kirsten’s great-grandmother who travelled over from Ireland, who after being called up by Kirsten started clapping away thinking it was for someone else called Granny! At 91, we couldn’t keep her off the dancefloor or out of the photobooth all night! She even invited the waiter to come stay with her if he’s ever in Ireland!
After she lit all her candles, Kirsten made her wish and blew them all out. It was a fabulous sentiment that the candles were more than just something bought in the shop but that they represented her life and the people that are a part of it.
As she cut the cake (that I had been waiting to eat all week) her parents joined her for a photo.
Kirsten’s cake was incredible! As a baker of novelty cakes, I was in awe of this cake made by Jackie’s Cake Boutique. The fillings were Red Velvet and Cookies and Creme and were melt in the mouth good! Jackie also made cupcakes for the candy table and the holder for the cupcakes was just as detailed as the cakes themselves.
Not only was there a candy table and cake, but there was a dessert buffet! Yes a buffet of yumminess! Popcorn, candy floss, cookies, fruit, various ice creams and toppings…it was heaven! As you can see by my place I really enjoyed dessert!
After dessert, we danced some more. The party was 8pm – 12.30am but it felt so much longer because it was broken up so well with dancing in between each part, everyone was having fun and just enjoying themselves. I couldn’t fault a thing at the party and that’s not something I say often, even with all the weddings I have attended. It was the perfect night for the perfect girl. Now that I know Kirsten throws a good party, I can’t wait for the wedding!
Here are some more pics and I hope you enjoyed hearing all about Kirsten’s Sweet 16!
Love from my world,